Backlash brewing over East Bay Beer Fest


Fans of ice cold beer, fried food and live music will have reason to celebrate on Saturday, June 15.

Meg Jones will not.

The Barrington resident and founder of the local group FAB (For Anything But ... alcohol, drugs or tobacco) says the first-ever East Bay Beer Fest at the Blount Clam Shack, which will feature beers from eight Rhode Island-based breweries, will celebrate a drug that has caused much pain and suffering in this part of the state and beyond.

“They’re offering this in Warren, where Kayleigh Raposa died,” Ms. Jones said, referring to the teenager who was killed in a drunk-driving accident in 2007. Kayleigh’s friend, Julie Alfano, served time at the state training school for driving under the influence of alcohol-death resulting, as well as other charges.

“It’s a huge problem,” Ms. Jones added.

In Barrington, alcohol played a role in the 2007 boating death of Patrick Murphy. The local teenager was knee-boarding in the Barrington River when his classmate, Ryan Greenberg, struck him with the power boat, killing him. Police reported that Mr. Greenberg had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident.

“These tragedies bring it (alcohol-related problems) to the forefront.”

Ms. Jones said she’s also troubled with fact that Tap-In, a non-profit agency that helps people in East Providence, Barrington, Warren and Bristol, will be benefiting from the Beer Fest. (Tap-In and the Hopkins Center for Civil Rights will receive proceeds from the first-ever Beer Fest.) She said some of the people who rely upon the assistance offered by Tap-In are struggling because of dependency issues.

Officials with Tap-In did not wish to comment, but Giovanni Cicione, owner of Brickyard Wine and Spirits which is supporting the first-ever East Bay Beer Fest, said he felt the fund-raiser was a good idea and would help an organization that serves a great need.

Mr. Cicione said that when he first obtained a license to open a liquor store in Barrington — Brickyard was the first liquor store to open in town — he committed to helping local charities.

“I think Tap-In’s a really good organization,” he said.

Mr. Cicione, the former chairman for the state Republican Party, also responded to Ms. Jones’ accusation that Brickyard may have been violating the law by sponsoring a beer or wine tasting off-site. Mr. Cicione said officials from the Hopkins Center for Civil Rights obtained the license for the event; the Warren Town Council issued the license and later approved a permit for live music.

“This is separate. We’re just supporting the event,” he said, quickly adding that he’s heard a lot of positive feedback. “I think we might try to do this every year. I think we may try to help Tap-In next year.”

Mr. Cicione said East Bay Beer Fest organizers are taking every precaution to make sure the event follows the rules. He said all the servers and staff will be TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS, which educates people on the responsible consumption of alcohol) trained.

The event runs from noon until 4 p.m. on June 15.

Sending a message

Ms. Jones said it’s important for people to consider the message they’re sending when it comes to alcohol, and that by supporting an event like the Beer Fest they may be pushing alcohol consumption closer to greater acceptance.

She said she believes there are fewer local teenagers drinking these days and more local parents who aware that their behaviors will influence their children’s actions.

But more needs to be done, she added.

She said FAB is entering its sixth year, and that her goal is to have it become a constant factor in peoples’ thinking. She said the group receives no funding and is run entirely by volunteers. Some help out at events like the FAB hat contest at the Memorial Day parade in Barrington, and others run the midnight basketball program at the Bayside YMCA.

“It’s a lifestyle choice,” Ms. Jones said. “You’re setting an example for your child. We know what we should be doing.”

Beer Fest details

• What: First-ever East Bay Beer Fest

• When: Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m.

• Where: Blount Clam Shack, Water Street in Warren

• Tickets: $20 per ticket (21 and older)

• Brewers scheduled to attend: Trinity Brewhouse, Foolproof Brewing, Revival Brewing, Narragansett Brewing, Grey Sail Brewing, Ravenous Brewing, The Bucket Brewery, Newport Storm Brewery


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Be mindful of and respect the laws regarding alcohol consumption; they exist for a reason.

The definition of beer as a drug or a beverage is subjective.

Alcohol consumption does not need to be pushed towards greater acceptance; it is accepted, get used to it.

The influence of parents' behavior on their children is broader than simply setting an example to be imitated. If that were the case, adults would not drive cars, go to rated R movies, etc. The key is to talk to your children and instill an understanding of what are grown-up activities and what are anybody-activities. Do not always assume that what you are doing is what everybody should be doing.

For those do not drink, that is perfectly OK and I doubt anyone would criticize you for not attending or supporting this event, in much the same way that one shouldn't be criticized for not belonging to a religious organization.

For those who do enjoy good beer, please remember:

You will never know if you like good beer if you never try it.

It is entirely possible to go through life without drinking good beer, but it is not advisable.

It is not “normal” to drink cheap beer.

People who drink cheap beer are not cool, they have just adopted that label and marketed themselves as such.

Strong beer is often a good choice.

It is far more enjoyable to drink good beer than to drink cheap beer.

You can have a full, rich social life without cheap beer, but perhaps a slightly better one with good beer.

Always choose quality over quantity.

Enjoy what you enjoy in life, respect others, keep a good sense of humor, and stay safe.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Seems to me that Ms. Jones wouldn't know fun if it walked up and handed her a grilled-cheese sandwich. Sheesh, if you're advocating temperance, Ms. Jones, just say so. Otherwise, please check your fear- and guilt-mongering at the door.

A gathering of adults enjoying locally made beer at an outdoor festival on a Spring Day sounds like a nice day and a good way to meet people from the community. I look forward to tasting the brewers' products I haven't tried before. I will take RIPTA to and from the event.

The only uncertainty I have about this entire affair concerns what the weather will be like. Aside from that, I'm in with both feet and I hope to see everyone there.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 | Report this

I think Ms. Jones needs to take a step back and realize that not everyone who drinks alcohol or attends an event like this abuses alcohol. There is just as likely to be an accident or tragedy with no event like this going on...people who drink to excess with do so regardless. And in my opinion, these events tend to draw people who are just looking for a fun day out and will not abuse.

If she is pushing for a return of prohibition, she may as well just say so. This whole setting a bad example or a total anti-alcohol message is weak, at best. And pointing out the names of people who died and saying this event is happening in the towns in which they died is bordering on fear mongering.

Friday, June 7, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

I have good news: I exchanged emails with one of the organizers of this festival. Quoting from the email:

"That article in the Times spurred additional ticket sales...Mrs. Jones [has] been an asset to promoting the Beer Fest."

Hee hee, good job, Mrs. Jones. I love when things work out as they should.

Friday, June 7, 2013 | Report this

My initial contact with Josh Bickford was purely in reference to the fact that it is illegal in Rhode Island to have free tastings of alcohol out side of your established business. This is a law. It is in place to keep minors safe as it is nearly impossible to guarantee no underage consumption at events of this nature. Josh and I had some conversations about the partnering of the Food Pantry with a beer tasting as much homelessness and joblessness is a result of substance use. Josh and I spoke in depth about the process that Mr. Ciccione the attorney and liquor store owner went through to circumvent the system when he was denied his permit to offer a free tasting initially. Once denied he had another entity, a civil liberties union and TapIn as a not for profit join in securing the permit as a fundraiser which would sell tickets to raise revenue for the not for profit and he would then be able to provide the alcohol. The Laws are made by lawyers to be broken by lawyers. Josh and I had several conversations about why events of this nature should not be permitted. If TapIn really wants to have a beer tasting then have it at an established bar or liquor store although I personally feel that the collaboration is counterproductive. However, that would not be illegal. I too have received countless emails to the positive stating that the article in the paper did raise a good point. It is a choice that parents in the community need to make. Is it necessary to attend an event where you would not normally expect alcohol when you are with your children? Is it a good idea for the local food pantry to partner with a beer tasting? What Josh did not mention is his article however is why he and I had this conversation in the first place. I founded FAB -For Anything But alcohol, drugs or tobacco 7 years ago. FAB is a volunteer program which offers a variety of substance free activities each week in the community. Students in our summer art camp create tile murals which adorn the walls of many local businesses. Each student paints a tile with their self portrait and a positive quote. The tiles are mounted in groups of 12 fixed to self framing plywood. We donate this artwork to local businesses to raise awareness and aid in prevention by keeping a running dialogue. This year in Summer Camp we will be participating in the Empty Bowls Project. This is a nationwide project where children paint ceramic bowls donated by studios. All bowls are sold or auctioned and all profit is donated to a local food pantry. I had been on the TapIn facebook page to add them to our summer camp marketing material as the recipient of the Empty Bowls Project profits. It was at this point that I saw the posting for the free beer tasting. We would not be able to offer our proceeds to a food pantry that partners with a beer tasting fundraiser as that would not be something that FAB could promote. After reading this I had a representative from RI in my studio with her children and she and I were talking about the situation. She informed me of the law that states liquor stores may not offer free tastings outside of their own established business. She directed me to the RI Bureau of Alcohol and Licensing. When I contacted them I was told in fact that they were aware of numerous infractions on the part of this particular liquor store and were in fact calling him in again. They were unaware of the fact that this Lawyer/liquor store owner found a loophole via the civil liberties union and TapIn as a not for profit front who by selling tickets made it not "free" even though he would be donating the liquor. And in closing, I do know how to have fun. I don't need alcohol, or any other substances to have fun. And I am very aware that children in the community do in fact look up to their parents, teachers, coaches, scout leaders and other adults in the community. We are all role models and we all have a responsibility to lead by example. And I am aware that not everyone who consumes alcohol will abuse alcohol. But I am also aware that no one knows who will so why encourage or enable a behavior that can possibly have such negative results when it is in no way necessary. It's a shame Josh Bickford doesn't choose to use the front paper for more important issues such as FAB and the wonderful substance free events that we offer in the community. That would be good reporting!

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

And as a side note I never mentioned those lost via alcohol related incidents in neighboring towns, that was purely Josh Bickford embellishing to sell papers. Really wouldn't have been much of a story if it was simply stating that it is simply illegal to offer free beer tastings out of your established business would it? No. So why not spin it another way and encourage more animosity rather than dealing with the actual issue.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Ms. Jones:

Thank you very much for clarifying. If you did not say words attributed to you in the article, particularly those shown with quotation marks (e.g., “They’re offering this in Warren, where Kayleigh Raposa died,” Ms. Jones said), then there is a significant problem indeed. I will reserve further comment until Josh Bickford agrees, refutes, or clarifies your remarks in the "Reply" section.

In addition to the above example, I think many of us were troubled by this passage from the article:

Ms. Jones said it’s important for people to consider the message they’re sending when it comes to alcohol, and that by supporting an event like the Beer Fest they may be pushing alcohol consumption closer to greater acceptance.

Unlike the prior quote in which you are clearly being quoted as saying the words, the above doesn't purport to be a direct quote, but rather a recounting of your remarks.

I hope Mr. Bickford will post an addendum to the article to confirm who said what.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Wait... are there going to be grilled cheese sandwiches too?!

I agree that Mr. Bickford is obligated shed some light this situation; clearly someone's integrity is in question.

There are laws and laws should be followed. When one wants to do something that initially contradicts such a law but finds a legal compromise so as to still operate within the law, this is not the same thing as violating the law even if it is not within the spirit of the law. I will state again that taking advantage of a legal loophole is not breaking the law. If you feel that the law needs be changed to prevent this kind of legal circumvention, approach your lawmakers and attempt to gain community support for amending the law. If the organizers have, in fact, broken the actual law then that must be addressed by the appropriate law enforcement.

Good points are raised on both sides and good points contribute to good debate.

You are correct that this is a choice that the adults in a community should make. I will stress that I say adults and not parents because it is important to remember that many of those who would enjoy such an event are not parents. I do not understand how you could characterize a beer tasting as an event where one would not normally expect alcohol. I would be surprised and disappointed if I were to attend a beer or wine tasting and not find alcohol. Is it necessary to attend an event like this with one's children? Certainly not. As I mentioned, I'm sure many of the attendees do not have children. Many may have adult children. Many may attend without their children. The article states that tickets are $20 (21 and older) and does not mention anywhere that children younger than 21 are even permitted. If that is the case, then the concern of underage drinking is moot, unless you are concerned about someone entering with a fake ID, in which case the problem is with the fake ID, not the event itself. There are many ways for adults (both parents and non-parents) to be role models. As a child I observed the adults in my family enjoying alcohol responsibly at social gatherings. As an adult, I exercise the same maturity and moderation. Thankfully, we live in a society that does not infringe upon most personal liberties because of the fear that one may abuse them. There are many examples of activities that are not necessary, could have negative consequences due one's inability to engage in them in a sensible way, but do make some people happy and it would be indefensible to ban these activities unless it were the will of the people to do so.

As far as the propriety of a local food pantry partnering with such an event, I believe that is at the discretion of the food pantry in much the same way that is at the discretion of your organization not to. With regards to your organization, it sounds like you are doing something positive and beneficial for these children. There should certainly be an article in the paper highlighting your initiatives and achievements. I do not think it should be within the context of this article.

I apologize if I gave the impression that I did not think that you knew how to have fun; I have no doubt that you do.

I would be surprised if most of the advocates of this event truly need alcohol to have fun. I would guess that most individuals who are alcoholics and not just fine beer enthusiasts would find other, more efficient ways to get drunk. I would also think there would also be easier ways for underage drinkers to obtain alcohol than attempting to get it at event like this, particularly if they would need a fake ID to enter. It is not a given that just because someone enjoys a particular thing, that they need it to enjoy themselves. I personally do not enjoy hot dogs but I would not disparage others for having a weenie roast or insinuate that they were incapable of enjoying themselves without hot dogs.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Again I will reiterate that my contact with Josh was strictly in relation to the circumvention of the free beer tasting law. As a donor to the food pantry and founder of FAB concerns were raised regarding the food pantry and their partnership with an event serving alcohol. When Josh called me the third time and said he was investigating the situation and asked how I would like to be quoted in the article I stated that I did not wish to get involved and to contact the Lic. Bureau where he would be given the same information that I was given.

As far as the ticket sales it is $20 for 21 and over free for under 21 as you should not be consuming beverages. All ages would be welcome. I am not going to get into a discussion about whether being around alcohol at a young age makes an impression on children one way or another. What I will continue to focus on is that TapIn could have a free beer tasting at any local establishment but beer tastings outside of your established business are illegal in RI. (Unless you find a loophole.)

It is my opinion that children are influenced by their parents and other adults in the community. And it is my opinion that it is not necessary to teach to responsibly consume alcohol or use substances of any kind. It is my opinion that we should be leading the way by our example and teaching our children how to socialize substance free.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

I do not see in the article where it states that the event is free to anyone under 21 (obviously one should not be drinking if they are under 21).

You are already involved in a discussion about the influence being around alcohol or being around adults consuming alcohol has on children; this appears to be one of your main arguments.

The fact remains that if the loophole exists, the event is within the law. Many things are illegal unless you find a way doing them legally (for example, operating a car, owning firearms, practicing medicine). If the law changes to exclude the loophole, then the legality changes.

Finally I feel that we do our children a disservice when we dismiss the idea of educating them about how to act responsibly and make informed decisions rather than simply telling them that they should or should not do something simply because we, as adults, choose to or choose not to. Your rights to your opinions and the decisions you make raising your own children do not extend to attempting to make these decisions for the rest of the community.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Thank you, everyone, for using our website as a forum for responsible discourse on public issues. I spoke to Josh Bickford about his reporting for this story. Josh is certain that everything attributed to Meg Jones within this story, including direct quotes, is accurate

During one of their conversations, Ms. Jones mentioned the alcohol-related tragedies in our recent past. She did not specifically mention the deadly boat accident on the Barrington River seven summers ago. Since this paragraph appears directly after, and directly before, quotes from Ms. Jones, we can understand why it seems like a direct attribution to her. It is not. But we stand behind all other reporting within the story.

Lastly, we welcome any and all critiques about what we choose to put on the front page of our newspapers. In this case, we felt that because Ms. Jones is a community organizer and thought leader, this placement was warranted.

– Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers General Manager

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Your continued argument for loopholes is clear and we obviously disagree. Laws are not made to be broken they are made to protect. If you wish to change a law do it through the proper channels, not loopholes. And as I stated previously I have personal opinions but that was not what my conversation with Josh was intended. Beer tastings outside of your established business are illegal in RI.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Is it necessary to attend an event where you would not normally expect alcohol when you are with your children?

Sorry, but I'm having a difficult time unwinding many of your statements. Is a Beer Tasting event "an event where you would not normally expect alcohol"? Or did you include the word "not" by accident?

I also need to ask: Why are you making this event into something where parents will bring their children? Where is this even stated? In your original reply, you said "I am very aware that children in the community do in fact look up to their parents, teachers, coaches, scout leaders and other adults in the community." Ok, fine, good point, but what does this have to do with adults going to a Beer Tasting to which children are not invited or allowed?

In all of this event's advertising, it's pretty clear that this is an adult-only event. For example, here's a statement copied directly from the event's website: "Please make sure you bring positive ID the day of the event. All guests will be asked to provide their ID at the gate."

If I'm reading that correctly, it seems to me that those under the age of 21 are not allowed. In fact, I will be happy to follow up and report -- honestly -- if children were present at the event.

Unless you are advocating some sort of modern-day temperance movement, the question still stands: If adults choose to go to a beer tasting event that is closed to children, how is this a children's issue?

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Apparently my argument is not clear. Correct; laws are not made to be broken. Exploiting a loophole is not a breaking of the law. A loophole may be a oversight or weakness of the law or it may an intentional flexibility built into the law. If you wish to change a law to address a loophole, do it through the proper channels. Beer tastings outside of an established business in RI are illegal unless under the circumstances of such a loophole. If this event did not meet those legal requirements, I would expect to see it shut down and would have no issue with it. Wanting something to be true does not make it so.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

I would respectfully disagree with the above statements Scott. If you would like me to discuss private matters that Josh mentioned as well I would be happy too. However, the fact remains that our conversations about this incident in no way involved a discussion or names of past alcohol related incidents. It is unfair to quote someone in your paper having no verification. I did not contact Josh to discuss past issues, I called and wrote to discuss the issue of the law not being followed. I am sorry if this doesn't sell papers but I wish your paper would refrain from embellishing stories to evoke a response from your readers. The story about the law was strong enough to stand on its own. My personal opinions did not come into the discussion at all.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

And to Nard G. don't spend so much time trying to "unwind" my statements as they are not in fact my statements. Ask Josh Bickford as they are his words not mine. Josh did inform me that his mother works for TapIn so I can safely assume what I thought would involve some actual reporting and investigating turned into a free ad on the front page for a beer fest. The power of the press : )

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Meg, unless someone else logged in using your ID at June 10, 2013 at 12:23 AM (i.e., the date/time stamp of your post above), the statement I'm trying to unwind is in fact your statement. You wrote it, not Josh Bickford. It is the 13th sentence in your very long, single-paragraph post above.

Please either address the question at hand or tell us that you're not interested in continuing the discussion, but please don't insult our intelligence.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

A loophole exploited is not breaking the law. Making it public is enlightening. "Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one." Mark Twain

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

"Is it necessary to attend an event where you would not normally expect alcohol when you are with your children?" This sentence refers to conversations with some other parents who had raised concerns about the waterfront area. Parents spoke of the fact that many would not have heard about the beer fest and just planned to enjoy the waterfront or the clam shack on that particular day. They would not be expecting a beer fest and would inadvertently expose their child to the activity. This is why beer fests or free tastings are legally bound to take place at an established business. There is no problem with alcohol being served where you expect it to be served. It is then your choice to visit that establishment or not. This is why the laws are in place.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Thanks for clarifying. I'm still a little thrown by what "necessary" means in this case, but I am generally following your point.

Thanks again.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

"Total abstinence is so excellent a thing that it cannot be carried to too great an extent. In my passion for it I even carry it so far as to totally abstain from total abstinence itself."

-- Mark Twain

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Blount's Clam Shack always serves beer and wine - it is on their online menu, so there would be no reason expect it to be an area where one would not be exposed to adults consuming alcohol. If parents want to avoid that, they should avoid the clam shack entirely, on any given day, not just during the beer tasting.

I would expect there to be signage in the area of the tasting that would alert concerned parents.

Failing that, the admission fee would also be a clue. This isn't rocket science.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

Yes I understand that the clam shack sells alcohol and if you choose not to go there and avoid that you may. Parents may however not be aware of the beer fest and the monitoring of alcohol at an event of this nature can be difficult if not impossible. Hopefully the event will be well advertised so families that do not wish to expose their children to the event of this nature will have the knowledge and can avoid the waterfront at that time. Again I wish to focus on the fact that beer tastings outside of your established business are illegal in the state of RI. That was the point of the my conversations with Josh. The hope is to enlighten the general public to the law.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” - Robert Fulghum

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

"God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone." -- Robert Fulghum

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

"Water is the only drink for a wise man".-Henry David Thoreau

We can go quote for quote, there are millions to support each side. However, this was not my intent for contacting the paper or questioning the alcohol related activity. Let's stay on point. It is illegal in the state of RI to have free tastings of alcohol outside of your established business. The original permit was denied to Brickyard and the owner circumvented the system under the guise of a fundraiser, selling tickets to raise money for TapIN, making the tasting no longer free. Loopholes.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this
Nard Glimrod

Meg wrote:

“Water is the only drink for a wise man”. -- Henry David Thoreau

So I reply:

"The tavern will compare favorably with the church. The church is the place where prayers and sermons are delivered, but the tavern is where they are to take effect, and if the former are good, the latter cannot be bad." -- Henry David Thoreau

Meg adds:

"We can go quote for quote, there are millions to support each side."

So I observe:

Yes, that's true, but you seem to be missing a few key points in this regard:

1) You are pulling random quotes from whatever far corners of the Internet to support your point. I am intentionally countering with quotes that support the opposite point of view but, in each case, from the same speaker. What I am subtly trying to do (and apparently it's too subtle) is demonstrate that there is a balance to everything, even among the noteworthy words of the same great thinkers and speakers.

2) You fired the first round in this admittedly pompous exchange, but you also seem to be insisting on having the last quote. Unfortunately for both of us, I'm wired in a way that notices things like this. I suppose you'll have me stumped for a comeback if you quote Carrie Nation -- and I don't doubt you can throw a few of those out verbatim -- but I'll take my chances.

At your request, let's return to your point. You said:

It is illegal in the state of RI to have free tastings of alcohol outside of your established business. The original permit was denied to Brickyard and the owner circumvented the system under the guise of a fundraiser, selling tickets to raise money for TapIN, making the tasting no longer free.

For the first sentence, would you please share the RI statute to which you are referring? I would like to read it for myself. I don't doubt you, but this is one of those "trust but verify" situations. Humor me, if you will.

For the second sentence, how do you come by this knowledge? Did Mr. Cicione tell you personally that his permit had been denied and that he had cooked up this Machiavellian scheme to get around the regs? Or do you work in the licensing office and were the one responsible for rejecting his application for a permit? Or is there another reason why you seem to have first-hand knowledge of this situation?

I have to observe that you've made a few statements in the article and in your subsequent posts that don't seem to hold water. I'm happy to point them out one by one, but let's just focus on these last two:

1) What is the specific RI statute you're citing, and

2) How is it that you have so much inside knowledge concerning Mr. Cicione's retail business, or is it really all just supposition on your part?

You said above that these were your "intent for contacting the paper". Surely you'll be willing to give us the answers.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

1) I am not pulling quotes from the far corners of the internet, I am a avid quote thrower, tweeter, blogger.

2) I am not a vandal, or violent, or opposed to alcohol where it is sold or used within the law.

For the specific law feel free to contact The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations and specifically Commercial Licensing & Regulation they will be happy to give you that information.

The way I came to understand that there was such a law was via a state representative at my studio with her daughter. We were discussing our summer art program Empty Bowls Project. I was looking to donate our profit to our local food pantry TapIn. While on their facebook page to gather info for our ad campaign I saw the post about the free beer tasting. I mentioned to the representative that we would have to look for another pantry or organization to donate to as we run FAB and that would conflict with our message of substance free activities. She mentioned that she was surprised that the event would be allowed and cited the law regarding no free alcohol samplings/tastings out side of your established business. She suggested that I call the Warren Town Hall or Police Dept. to see how such an event was approved. I did call the Warren Police Dept. and they returned my call several days later. I was told that Brickyard had applied for a permit and was denied. The deputy said that at a later date another individual along with a civil liberties group and TapIn as a not for profit reapplied for the permit as a ticket sales event and the permit was put in another mans name with Brickyard as the provider. I spoke with another local representative and she directed me to the above mentioned Business Bureau as she said there had been multiple infractions involving this particular liquor store and that it would be helpful if I filed a formal complaint which I did.

My objective for contacting the paper was to share this information with the public and hopefully to raise awareness that this type of event is not within the letter of the law. Tastings actually cannot even be marketed on a sign in front of your established business. The only way to offer a tasting or free wine/beer is to simply have an in house unadvertised tasting.

I know all of this because I took the time to investigate. I do feel that the more readily alcohol is promoted, available and accepted as the norm the more young impressionable children may be influenced. It is no different than the tobacco industry and targeting the youth.

TapIn could have had a Dels tasting at the clam shack combined with Blount soup tastings, but that is really not what this was all about. It was quite simply a way for Brickyard to market his business under the false pretense of charity.

Monday, June 10, 2013 | Report this

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